A hospital Tim Hortons in St. John's that was supposed to make hundreds of thousands of dollars to offset the cost of delivering health care is going fully private after years of losing taxpayer money.
Eastern Health, Newfoundland and Labrador's largest health authority, announced this week that it will hand over all its non-patient cafeteria services — including the red-ink-stained Timmies — to private companies.
"We cannot continue to subsidize those non-direct care services when we know they can be provided more effectively and efficiently," Eastern Health CEO Vickie Kaminski said.
When the Tim Hortons opened in 1995 in the Health Sciences Centre, Newfoundland and Labrador's biggest hospital, authorities promised it would net a profit of up to $300,000 a year, enough to "pay the salaries of seven nurses," then-hospital administrator Gladys Peachy told CBC News at the time.
Instead, Kaminski revealed this week the chain lost $260,000 last year alone, despite the fact it's a very popular spot, with huge lines every day.
But while the coffee shop itself is privately managed, its workers are unionized hospital employees, earning about $20 an hour, plus benefits.
Eastern Health has previously doled out an annual subsidy of $1.2 million for its cafeteria operations, but private companies will now assume full responsibility.